Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan has been able to send a message to the electorate despite being in prison, thanks to artificial intelligence (AI).
A voice clone was used for Khan to send out a campaign message on Monday (18 Dec) as part of a four-minute communication that headlined a “virtual rally”, as reported by the Guardian.
The 71-year-old, a key figure for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party has been behind bars since August, with the case against him on the basis that he was leaking classified documents. His supporters have refuted the charges, claiming the allegations are trumped up as part of a wider move to prevent Khan from standing in the upcoming Pakistani general election due to take place in February.
Thanks to the innovative move from PTI, Khan was able to “speak” to the masses in what is a small propaganda victory in itself.
Founding Chairman Imran Khan’s speech in AI voice. Can’t stop praising Dr Asma for staying up 36 hours to get this done in time, Nausheen for translations and Intazar Bhai for getting notes from the Legend Imran Khan! #PTIVirtualJalsa pic.twitter.com/9CoDVT4sXb
— Jibran Ilyas (@agentjay2009) December 17, 2023
AI Imran Khan vows “determination for real freedom”
The online broadcast lasted five hours in full, with several contributions from PTI figures and supporters. Using the platforms of YouTube, X, and Facebook, the show featured different imagery of Khan using stills and previous film footage.
It was said that the former cricket star passed on shorthand script to his lawyers which was then developed into a longer text using his typical rhetorical style. From there, the message was dubbed in audio using a tool from AI firm ElevenLabs which enables users to create a “voice clone”
Khan sent a shorthand script through lawyers that was fleshed out into his rhetorical style. The text was then dubbed into audio using a tool from the AI firm ElevenLabs, which boasts the ability to create a “voice clone” from existing speech samples.
“My fellow Pakistanis, I would first like to praise the social media team for this historic attempt,” stated the cloned voice.
“Maybe you all are wondering how I am doing in jail. Today, my determination for real freedom is very strong,” it added.
This tactic was deployed by PTI to get around state censorship as well as to connect with younger voters in the country following their contribution to the election success five years ago.
“This was a no-brainer for us, when Imran Khan is no longer there to actually meet at a political rally, it was to get over the suppression,” stated US-based PTI social media chief Jibran Ilyas.
He continued, “We wanted to get in election mode. No PTI political rally is complete without Imran Khan.”
Featured image: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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